As 2021 comes to a close, Brattle’s TIME practice is looking back at two important FCC auctions from 2021 and 2020, both of which were the focus of Brattle research presented at this year’s TPRC Conference.

The second issue of The Brattle TIME, a regular update from Brattle’s Telecommunications, Internet, Media & Entertainment (TIME) practice, is authored by Senior Consultant and TIME Practice Co-Leader Dr. Paroma Sanyal, Principal Dr. Coleman Bazelon, Associate Dr. Jonathan Lee and Dr. Yong Paek.

The first Brattle research project, “New Types of Broadband Providers Had a Substantial Impact on FCC Broadband Internet Auction for Underserved Communities,” examined the FCC auction process for  the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction, where more than $9 billion in subsidies was awarded to internet services providers to bring internet service to those in underserved areas. Brattle’s research highlighted how the FCC’s preference for Gigabit speeds and the participation of new high-speed satellite company bidders such as SpaceX influenced the auction outcome.

The second Brattle research project, “Spectrum Auction War Games – With Robots,” designed an auction simulator that allows potential auction participants to practice “war games” with help from virtual bidders. The simulation was created in advance of the C-Band auction, the largest and highest-grossing spectrum auction in FCC history, to gain insights into bidder behavior. Brattle economists also used machine learning techniques to create predictive models of bidder behavior, and they plan to combine the insights from these models to help anticipate what may happen at future FCC spectrum auctions.

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